I presented for the British Retail Consortium at their Multi-Channel Retail conference this week on the subject of Social Media and the Customer Experience. This was my first major conference, I had done many presentations before, but many of the attendees here were from some of the top retail brands in the UK. In addition I was to do a Q&A after my talk alongside Ruth Spencer, Director of Insight, for Boots. Nerves would not be adequate enough to describe the rising fear as my turn to take the stage came.
Once I had the first sentence out though, there was no stopping me, I know my subject well, believe in what I do and absolutely loved the experience.
So often we fear taking part but as per the title of the book by Susan Jeffers, you should “Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway”. I have never read the book but the title alone has got me through many situations in life, from job interviews to public speaking. There’s only one situation where I haven’t completely conquered my fear and that’s roller coasters!
Many have this fear when they start using Twitter. Sometimes it is this fear that leads people to disregard Twitter, even Social Media altogether, as nothing more than a passing fad. Which means they miss a valuable opportunity to network with others and Twitter is no more than the offline equivalent of a massive networking event, which may in itself explain many peoples fear. There are a number of factors that are common:
- The fear of taking part.
- The fear of being wrong.
- The fear of having an opinion.
The Fear of Taking Part
Twitter is no roller coaster, it’s a platform for communication and engagement. Somewhere where you can support and help others as well as seek help yourself. You shouldn’t be afraid to join in, nobody is going to laugh at you and if they do? “Ha Ha” back. At worst if you say something stupid people will just ignore it. Twitter is very fleeting.
The Fear of Being Wrong
If you have never been wrong in life I suggest you are not trying hard enough. Being wrong in public can feel awkward but as long as you learn and correct your mistakes, you come out of it a better person. Don’t let the fear of being wrong stop you from engaging on Twitter, learning is what life is all about and on Twitter you can be wrong faster and therefore learn quicker.
The Fear of Having an Opinion
Opinions are what make us stand out, if we all thought the same way then the path through life would be dull and uninteresting. New things wouldn’t get invented and new ideas wouldn’t hatch. Have an opinion, express it out loud. Twitter is the perfect platform from which to express your opinion. If it is on a popular subject you’ll probably end up with lots of feedback. Your opinion cannot be incorrect, because it is yours. It also doesn’t mean you cannot change your opinion if someone persuades you otherwise. In fact many use controversial opinions purposefully to generate feedback and conversation.
Let go of your fear, what you have to offer is of value to someone out there. Take part and start contributing you will wonder what ever held you back.
What fear is holding back your potential?